I live inside of the triangle which can be seen on any geographic map of Europe, but I do not live in Europe. It is a hole in earth surrounded by beautiful, manifestly damaged landscape. Fog and pollution are not only in the air, they are in us; in our noses, in our throats and in our minds. Our hair smells like smoked meat, despite our hair care product choices. We breathe pollution, we talk about pollution, yet do nothing about the pollution, except wait for it to snow. In the end we live polluted lives.
Yes, there is a love hate relationship between the town I was born in and me. I am not sure why a lot of people refer to it as a city. Perhaps because this disturbing place is a capital of the triangle called Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It is an artificial country and sometimes I am positive that I do not live in reality, that I live in existential novel- so most likely Camus invented me and placed me in this absurd triangle.
We are so deeply frozen in some former and forgotten time that we have become an exotic destination for tourists while they are discovering Balkans within 7 days!
Of course, we were introduced to the world with a 4 year long siege in the 90’s, when everyone who was not Bosnian had a chance to witness the madness of war, and in some cases make a career out of it, while I ate 40 years old biscuits from suspicious-looking tins. I do not complain, I did not know any better back then, but now when I remember what we were eating (if we had anything to eat) I want to cry. Does anyone care what Syrian children are eating in this very moment? If they eat at all.
The world had a chance to hear for us again when we burned our presidency building or when floods destroyed entire areas and dislocated mine fields. So, if you survived the war, now more than 20 years later you have a chance to kill yourself accidentally, if you step on the mine that water left behind in your private yard. Do not take it against the water, she was in a hurry. I just wonder how those people who dedicated their lives to removing the leftovers of war hidden in fields, forests and mountains were feeling when they understood that 20 years of their work of mapping and marking the mine fields was washed away.
But we do not mind anything, because we learned that things can always be worse. Our minds are also under siege. We sing through, even we are not so brilliant as we would love to believe. Anyone /everyone can be a star here- you are a star if two or more people, not including parents, know your talent, and support your broken dream of being seen on national TV. We are hilarious.
So, we do not do anything about everything all together. We just wait for miracles, for better days, for the moment when war will end in our minds. We all suffer from PTSD syndrome, yet we do not accept that such a thing exists.
We also collect the trash. It is everywhere. On the streets, in the rivers, on the grass, on the parking lots, on the tree’s branches. It is our way to decorate our living space. Our trams, full of trash, are actually trash itself. They are donations of European countries and they are older than I. And I will be 29 in a couple of days.
So, it is a love hate relationship. I love this ineffective place, because we have grown up together, we share good and bad memories, we have the same wounds, same dreams and we love the same writers. We maybe did not treat them as they deserved, but they are ours and we feel their melancholy.
But I hate it also, because despite the fact that I have a bombshell in my apartment (I keep umbrellas in it) I evolved into an independent young woman and I dream big for both of us. But I alone cannot make it happen. I need my town to wake up from this deep dark dream! I am ready to give it the kiss of life, but I cannot do more. I can only continue with being frustrated by the fact that I am stuck here in the town which loves me, but does not understands me; the town which took from me my best years without asking what I think about it; and the town which defined my character and made me who I am, in the end. I truly want to leave it and eventually I will, but what makes me terrified is the thought that perhaps I will miss it when I am gone away.